by WorldTribune Staff, May 25, 2017
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed to stand against “elements in the world” who seek to deny Israel’s sovereignty over Jerusalem.
In a May 24 speech at Jerusalem Day celebrations at the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, Netanyahu said “I have a deep obligation to continue to maintain a united Jerusalem, to protect the Western Wall, the Temple Mount and all the holy sites of Israel. Jerusalem will not return to being Aelia Capitolina, and Jerusalem will not go back to being a divided city like it was after 1948.”
The people of Israel, Netanyahu stressed, “are not a nation of refugees. This is our homeland and we have the first right to it.”
“This fundamental truth stands before my eyes when I stand firmly and resolutely against elements in the world who seek to deny our sovereignty in Jerusalem and seek to return us to indefensible borders, and I never forget where we came from and where we are headed, and I am not talking only about Jerusalem, but about our entire homeland, the Land of Israel.”
The prime minister spoke at the annual central festive event that goes back to the first year of Jerusalem’s reunification, Arutz Sheva reported.
“I hear people describe what happened to us [in the Six Day War] as a disaster,” Netanyahu said. “But that was our salvation, that was our redemption. We all felt that way then and I feel the same way today.”
“Is there anybody who wants us to go back in time? What would we go back to? A divided city? With ISIS on the Temple Mount? The northern branch of the Islamic Movement was there (in Jerusalem), have you heard of them? We outlawed them. They warned us not do it but we outlawed them anyway and nothing bad has happened.”
Netanyahu added: “They want us to turn this small square kilometer into what we see in Palmyra or Aleppo or Mosul, and that’s what will happen [if we divide Jerusalem]. Only under Israeli sovereignty is there freedom for all religions, and we will not give up the Temple Mount or the Western Wall and will not divide the city.”
The office of Palestinian Authority (PA) chairman Mahmoud Abbas slammed Netanyahu’s remarks.
“East Jerusalem, with its holy sites for Islam and Christianity, is the capital of the Palestinian state and will remain so forever,” said Abbas’s bureau, according to Yediot Aharonot.
Abbas’s office claimed that Netanyahu’s comments create tension and undermine U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to establish peace between Palestinian Arabs and Israelis.
Abbas reportedly told Trump during their meeting on May 23 that he is willing to begin peace negotiations with Israel right away. To date, Abbas has rejected calls by Israel to sit down for direct negotiations, choosing instead to impose preconditions on such talks, according to the Arutz Sheva report.